Thursday, November 24, 2005


On March 3rd, 2004 my dear friend Tooker Gomberg committed suicide. He was one of Canada’s most creative, loveable and visionary activists. I wrote this poem on the one year anniversary


“One year
And what do I know now that I didn’t know then?
I’m not sure . . .
But there is this one thing I have learned

Three things:

One: this journey is long and winding
Two: you cannot make this journey alone
Three: we must abandon hope and embrace . . . something else entirely . . .

These thoughts are scattered
Bear with me

solitude may free you
but isolation will kill you

I think this is a call

to come out of hiding.

i think we are hungry for each other
craving community and coming together

but what do I know? . . .

This is what I know:

We do not honour the pain and struggles
of those who went before us by recreating them in our lives
nor by passing them on to the future.
Their ghosts do not linger on to haunt us,
but to be healed by us.

For, the healing of this world is a generational story.
No one generation can do it alone.

And when your time on this Earth comes to a close,
Either love or cries for love.
Either the experience of being home or the deep longing for it.

abandon hope all ye who enter here,
this journey is long and winding.
you cannot make this journey alone.

this is what i know:
the hiding that once saved us
will now surely kill us

and besides – where are you going to run?

there’s no safety in hiding anymore
because there’s no where left to hide
they’ve come into the homes and
torn the jungles open wide

this is what i know:
the only way forward is to turn
to each other
not on each other
stop

let me tell you what is possible

to come together
in ways we never have before
and create sacred spaces, in the very places
where once there raged a war.

This is what I know: the tip of the spear is powerless without the shaft behind it.
a person by themselves is not a person
this is what i know: we are all better when we’re loved
this is what i know: there is a difference between what is normal and what is natural.
never lose sight of that.
this is what i know: the trouble with normal is it always gets worse
this is what i know: during world war ii there was a higher survival rate amongst those who participated in the warsaw ghetto uprising than those who went along.
this is what i know: during world war ii there was a higher survival rate amongst those who participated in the warsaw ghetto uprising than those who went along.

this is what i know:

we must in many ways
become like a drum
the harder they beat us

the louder we become
and remember this

it comes to this I think.
in the middle of you
in the middle of your heart
a threshold place
mud, mist
a sunset or sunrise
the shoreline
no longer what it was
not yet what it will be
no longer its parts but some new whole
something in between
this is the place where everything changes
in the middle of you
in the middle of your heart

abandon hope all ye who enter here
embrace pain
with your arms
wrapped around it
pull it into your heart
you are not separate from this
do not just look upon the suffering
the mind will magnify the madness
but the heart transforms it into beauty
take it into the middle of you.

and then let it go
push it out
in a mighty contraction
you were born for this
to express beauty
to press out of
to ex press
to press sorrow from you
until it bleeds beauty

your heart is like a revolving door
four chambers
a full revolution
you’re back where you were but
facing where you came from
and seeing it from a new perspective
from new eyes
something happens to you in the turning

abandon hope all ye who enter here
embrace pain
with your arms
wrapped around it
pull it into your heart
you are not separate from this
do not just look upon the suffering
the mind will magnify the madness
but the heart transforms it into beauty
push it out of the middle of you


your heart was meant to transform suffering
not to house it
what is not expressed with raw eloquence will kill you
a hole torn in the bottom of your heart
as it falls

do you want meaning for your life
or the experience of being alive?

you must choose carefully
the sun is setting
and we all go down with it

abandon hope
embrace beauty
the beauty that pours out from your heart
when you swallow down sorrow

abandon hope
embrace beauty
the beauty that may be fashioned from heartwrenching sadness
the beauty that comes from being carved out and filled up
by the same hand
our resistance is fertile
our voices are brimming with beauty
our eyes shining

there is a laughter on the other side of sorrow
a sudden lightness
unalloyed joy
unexpected openness
honey in the heart

this is what i know:
“the breeze at dawn
has secrets to tell you
don't go back to sleep
you must ask
for what you really want
don't go back to sleep
people are going back and forth
across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch
the door is round and open
do not go back to sleep” (RUMI)

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